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Throw Zion's Case Out

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
June 23, 2020 6:03 pm

Throw Zion's Case Out

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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June 23, 2020 6:03 pm

On this edition of The Drive with Josh Graham Brian Geisinger drops by to talk Hornets draft targets, Steve Wiseman talks Zion court case, and we play Trading Card War.

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INTRO MUSIC Before we get to some of the profoundly absurd details regarding Ford's lawyers that have come to light over the last three or four days, let me just remind you how shady Gina Ford is. She reached out to Zion and his family prematurely to try and get him to sign, did so without being registered in the state of North Carolina where Zion of course was at Duke at the time. That violates North Carolina state law, this uniform act designed to defend or protect college athletes from agents attempting to make them ineligible and represent them prematurely. Gina Ford in the past has acknowledged Zion as being a high quality student athlete. She once was partnered with a man named Manis Sood who probably doesn't mean much to you except if you knew that he was once the financial advisor for Christian Dawkins.

Sood was arrested along with Dawkins in connection to the FBI investigation into college basketball. Gina Ford's agency isn't certified by the NBA's Players Association so those are a ton of red flags right from the jump. There was another report that said Ford was offering cash, offering a cut from the pie if athletes could introduce her to Zion and his family.

Now let's get to the good stuff. Her lawyers seem to be just as incompetent as Ford. Dana O'Neill from The Athletic reported that they sent a subpoena to the state of Indiana that seemed to be intended for the Indianapolis NCAA office but instead went to a dentist in South Bend, Indiana.

You can't make this up. At first when Dana approached the lawyers saying did you mean to do this they said that Dana's information wasn't good but then when she actually had a picture of the document sent that way they said oh well that's clearly just a clerical error. Then you learn three law firms had to sign off on that document sent again to a dentist that was designated for the NCAA office. If that's not damning enough if that doesn't put your credibility in a corner where it can't recover then this will.

Zion and his lawyers are now bringing to light that many of the allegations made by Gina Ford's team that Zion is ineligible that he accepted impermissible gifts the sourcing of it direct quotes from Wikipedia and Zillow. The evidence they're presenting you can find with the simple Wikipedia search or a search off Zillow. Robert I don't know about you, Robert Walsh is the producer of this show but when I was in college and even in high school Wikipedia was never an acceptable source. Like did you have to give those long bibliography pages hey work cited? Citing your sources and whatnot. Right your paper would be graded an F if you threw a Wikipedia source up there.

Apparently Gina Ford or her lawyers think it's quality enough as grounds to try and question Zion Williamson's credibility. Yeah not to throw a monkey wrench in your plans and whatnot but like I hated that that you couldn't cite Wikipedia because literally the sources are at the bottom of the page on every Wikipedia page. Well here's the difference no no no you can you can change it you or I can change the contents of Wikipedia. But they have people who monitor that every new change has to go through a check and balance. Wikipedia is not a great source it's not any academic expert would agree with that and I think anybody in law as well. Here's the point with Zion that on that there's no evidence Zion broke the rules.

None. I don't care what Zillow says about a house that Zion's family stayed at. You're only looking into Zion because I think there are racial qualities to this.

Like I don't think a lot of people were looking at Grayson Allen's family where they may have stayed. I don't think we were doing the same thing with top players that Duke had that were of that work of color. But putting that aside the NCAA and Duke led separate investigations into Zion's recruitment.

Nothing came out of it. Michael Avenatti who's now in prison he alleged a year or two ago that Zion accepted impermissible benefits. They found nothing from that and of course he's a fraud. Zion deserves the benefit of the doubt here. Plus we learned this from Steve Wiseman who's a guest on today's show from the Raleigh News and Observer who's been following this case closely which is playing out in Florida and also in the Greensboro federal court. Even if Zion were to be guilty of accepting gifts, breaking an NCAA rule, it really wouldn't matter in this case. Gina Ford's contract because she wasn't certified in the state of North Carolina would still be void.

This was Steve from a couple weeks ago on this show. ...of reading the agent law that we've referred to here that says that it doesn't even matter if he wasn't eligible. That as long as he played for Duke, which he did, there's no question about that, that that makes him protected by this law. Whether he's found ineligible tomorrow it doesn't matter.

That's one interpretation of it. This is clear from the very beginning. Gina Ford's just trying to put pressure on Zion to settle this case. She knows and everybody knows, Coach K isn't going to testify.

Neither is Zion. They're going to settle if it gets to that point. But given how incompetent the lawyers have been and how shady Gina Ford has been and how adamant Zion has been that he's done nothing wrong, clearly they want to fight and they have good grounds to fight and Gina Ford I don't think has a leg to stand on.

So I think we're getting very close to this case being thrown out as it should be. Your thoughts are welcome on Twitter at sportsubtrian 336-777-1600 is the phone number. I want to shift things to Major League Baseball. It seems we're very close to a 60 game schedule being agreed upon. Major League Baseball is planning for that. The players said a few weeks ago just tell us when and where. Well the commissioner has now said the when and where. They hope to get things started on June 24th.

I see something else that says maybe June 29th or excuse me July 24th for July 29th. I think a 60 game schedule is going to have long-term consequences for Major League Baseball. It's going to be a long-term black eye that people remember because of how ugly this labor dispute was during a time where 40 million Americans were losing their jobs. For one, it would be the shortest Major League Baseball season since 1878. They played 60 games that year, Robert, but only had six teams. This would be over half as many games than Major League Baseball played in 1918. 140 games were played in 18.

The Spanish flu pandemic was prevalent in 18. World War I was happening where an average of five players on every big league team at that time were drafted into the war. They still found a way to play 140 games. 60 games. Is that really a good enough sample to figure out who the best team is? 60 games in a year ago, last year's World Series champion, the Washington Nationals, were 13th out of 15 teams in the National League.

They were 27 and 33. The previous year, in 2018, the Dodgers, 60 games in, would not be in playoff position in a 10 team format. Plus, let's not forget what we're talking about here. We're talking about baseball. Baseball purists will not validate this title. There's no other sport that chooses what to acknowledge, what deserves acknowledgement like baseball. Barry Bonds, there are some baseball fans that don't refer to him as the home run king or Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa. They'll still say that Roger Maris and Babe Ruth have had the best seasons among home run hitters because they don't acknowledge the steroids guys. Many still believe that Hank Aaron is the home run king, not Barry Bonds. In terms of career, home run acknowledgement. The Hall of Fame. Pete Rose isn't in the Hall of Fame. Roger Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame. McGuire, we could go down the long list.

Nobody else polices things this way. So what makes you think that these same baseball purists are going to acknowledge a title with only 60 games being played and no home field advantage? Sure, they'll watch, as most of us will, but if they're starting things in July, July 24th or July 29th, eh, the NBA regular season is going to resume a short while later. And the playoffs are going to be directly head to head, it seems like, with the Major League Baseball playoffs, which means you're talking about having to please the baseball purists more than anybody else. A 60 game schedule, I think it's going to have a long term black eye for the sport. I said NASCAR probably came out the best from the pandemic in terms of adjustments that they've made. Baseball easily has come out the worst. Brian Geisinger of ACCSports.com is going to join us in a little less than 20 minutes to talk about ACC basketball, look at some of the tiers for next season.

But coming up, I'll tell you why Cole Anthony very well could be a top five pick in the draft later this year. That's next on The Drive. Here comes the life of the party. The Drive.

Corrupting the minds and the hearts of our children. With Josh Graham. Program for low expectations on Sports Hub Triad. All right, let's talk a little college basketball. Brian Geisinger of ACCSports.com is with us.

He's on Twitter at BGeis underscore bird. There are few people I know that know even as much about hoops as BG does. And a short while ago, probably about a month ago, I gave my ACC rankings, two soon ACC rankings for 2021. And just looking at the top tier, Brian, I think it's a three team top tier. Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. I'd probably put North Carolina third because I believe that they have the least amount out of the three fewer known commodities returning and those returning commodities were on a team that didn't win a bunch. Then out of Virginia and Duke, I'm slightly partial to Virginia here because they have a lot back and they're maybe the most consistent ACC performer in the last decade under Tony Bennett. Do you agree with my top tier being three deep and how would you rank yours?

Yeah, so I do agree with you actually. I sort of cheated when I did my my tiers on this. I basically had at the I basically had FSU sort of in the second tier by itself. Now Louisville sort of in the third tier by itself too. So if you want to see FSU as one and a half, Louisville is a two and a half. But yeah, if you want to just do looking at just the top three, I think FSU is going to be really good.

But I sort of worry about replacing them to sell and Trent Forrest and where they're going to get some of their offensive creation from this season. You know, assuming maybe Scottie Barnes, their incoming freshman, isn't quite ready to carry that load. But specific to Virginia, yeah, like I think Virginia is I think Virginia and Villanova are like two best teams in the country next season. You know, you already know with Virginia, they're going to have a good floor because the defense is going to be top five.

It's not number one in the country. They couldn't score this year. And they still won a bunch of games. And we're still a top four team in the ACC because the defense is just that good. If you don't turn the ball over, you prevent the other team from scoring, you don't foul, you're going to win games.

Like it's just a formula for winning games in the regular season. And they have the guys on this roster too, though, that are special. They have feature pros on this team.

Those are the guys that raise your ceiling. And I think ultimately, this is going to end up being a pretty darn good like offense. I think Virginia is going to end up being a team that ranks inside the top 20 nationally in terms of offensive efficiency. They're going to be a top five again, if not the number one defense. Sam Houser, the transfer from Marquette, he's eligible.

He's not like a DeAndre Hunter clone, but they're going to run a lot of the same stuff for Houser that they did for DeAndre Hunter two seasons ago. It's sort of like a shot-making, play-making small ball four. If Jay Huff comes back, Virginia's got a legit stretch five. Somebody that can put pressure on the rim, protect the rim, shoot three. They've got a great freshman class coming in. Reece Beekman, Jabari Abdur-Rahim, phenomenal. They've got Thomas Walden, one of the best movement shooters in the ACC.

Kihei Clark, sort of like, you know, the straw that stirs the drink. Like a pretty good shooter off the catch, which is sort of an underrated aspect of the game. Good point of attack defender. And a guy that, even though he had a turnover this season with sort of like a lack of shooting talent around him, is one of the best pick-and-roll handlers and ball penetrators in the entire ACC.

A guy that makes open shots for his teammates. So I love Virginia. I think they're going to be a seriously title-contending team. And see, I'm with you as far as those three teams. Virginia, Duke, and UNC are the top three in the ACC.

Yeah, Virginia, it's just crazy. As you mentioned, they didn't score a lot last year and going into the final weekend of the season, they still had a shot to potentially tie for an ACC regular season championship. So that's the top of the ACC. Looking towards the bottom, Wake Forest makes a coaching change. It's Steve Forbes who's coming in. And of course, you'd like to keep Sean D. Brown, who decided to lead before Danny was even fired.

That might've been the last draw for Danny even. Olivier Saar, he was pursued, as we all know, on this radio station. He said the stuff about Kentucky and that blew up.

It became a national deal. You got the medical face mask spike in terms of an introduction to Steve Forbes, the world noticing who he is. I think from a PR perspective, and this guy going after some of these top players. He's interviewing right now, today, a five-star junior that Chris Mack's going after at Louisville. It seems he's not afraid to go after the big fish.

That's a good sign. It seems he's personable in a way. The last two coaches weren't in Danny and Jeff Bezdelic, and I'd even argue Dino Gaudio as well. What have you liked early on about Steve Forbes? Yeah, well, I think he, as you pointed out, he's personable, and the energy that he's bringing to the program is something that is obvious. The enthusiasm factor has just jumped. I think some of that stuff is built in whenever there's a coaching change in general, but there does seem to be a fair amount of organic energy that he's bringing into that.

That is outside the purview of a normal job change and the hopes for something better. I said this as soon as they hired Steve Forbes. They're going to get better defensively. It would sort of be hard for them to get worse than they were under Danny. And just the talent is really going to rise in terms of the program.

It's not like Danny didn't go after guys. Danny was really close to landing some big recruits, and in fact, he got some good players to come to wake, like Sean D. Brown and Jalen Hoard, too. Close on some other guys, like perhaps Wendell Moore Jr. or Harry Giles ended up at Duke.

But I think it's not just the top 25 guys that Forbes can do. I think the way he built up East Tennessee State of the program was finding guys obviously way outside of that bubble, finding guys in lower tiers of prep basketball, transfers, junior college players. Those are the kind of, you have to fight on those margins, too, to build a roster and to construct a roster, which is the most important part of coaching college basketball right now. And as far as the players he's brought in, too, he's added shooters, like already.

Davion Williamson, Johnny Antonio. No team couldn't use guys on the wing that can make 35 to 40 percent of their three-point offense. Every team in the country, including Virginia, we don't just think how awesome they are.

Even they can use guys like that. So I think you're changing the attitude, the culture of the program. You're improving defensively and you're finding shooters in New York going to try to go out and compete, try to land some serious talent, which we also just said. That's how you actually raise the ceiling of your program, too. So I think if you're a wake fan, I mean, at this point, it's all hypothetical for the most part, except for some of the roster maintenance.

But I think you have to like what you see. Check a lot of boxes, including being able to retain a fair amount of good players from last season's team. Obviously, they lost out on Brown and Sarr, but everyone else is pretty much back. So yeah, I think, again, I think wake, next season is going to be tough, but I just think overall, in general, with wake being better, the overall floor, I think Boston College is going to be better, too.

I think the overall floor of the conference is going to be above where it's been not just last season, but perhaps for the last couple of years. Brian Geissiger with us. He knows his hoops. He knows the ACC, accsports.com.

Kind enough to spend time here. Before we let you go, I think the Hornets have two major needs. They're going to try and address at least one of them in the top 10. Scoring wing and a rim protector. They haven't had a rim protector in a really long time has been effective. Who in the top 10 should the Hornets be targeting that addresses any one of those needs? Yeah, I mean, I look, I assume the Hornets draft around eight or nine, which would seem sort of like unless they have some luck and they're able to move up into the top three of the lottery, in which case, you know, you're looking at, you know, an A1 type creator type like LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes or maybe Anthony Edwards. But as far as wings go, I think Devin Massell is about as good as it gets in this draft. He's the best team defender.

He's the best 3D prospect. Sort of limited as a passer and a playmaker, but not bad. And this season at Florida State, he really showed some, you know, one-on-one pick and roll and isolation pull-up shot. He's got good footwork.

He's got a really high release. Look, I don't know if Devin Massell is necessarily like a top five prospect in every year of the draft. But right now, I think he's a top five or six guy.

If you could get him at eight or nine, I think that would be phenomenal. In terms of rim protection, Ineke Akongwu out of USC, like he's the best center in this draft for me. And I think there's a pretty wide gap between Double-O and James Wiseman, who I would only feel comfortable drafting later in the teams, honestly. I think Wiseman is going to be a starter in the NBA, but just not, I'm not buying this guy as like a top five pick. Wow, that's, to hold you up, that's a, that's a really surprising opinion. Sam Fassini says that, I mean, James Wiseman is one of those top five guys.

And that's what we keep hearing about. I didn't like the fact he left Memphis the way he did a month in. And I don't know if that's a guy that really translates well to what the NBA is doing right now. You feel the same way?

Yeah. I mean, look, I think Wiseman is going to be a good pick and roll big offensively. He's going to catch lobs and give you vertical spacing and get a lot of dunks and shoot a high percentage. And that's a useful offensive player. And I think if he puts the work in, he can become a pretty good drop center defensively, the pick and roll, but he's got a lot of work to get done. You know, he is this upright defender out of the, out of the ball screen coverages right now.

And he's going to have to get a lot better there. Right now I don't buy the jump shot. I mean, if that comes online, it's really only valuable, you know, if he figures it out to three point range, unless he becomes sort of like a, a mid post isolation on Marcus, all of its type guy, but that I don't foresee that to be his case. Again, I think James Wiseman is a starter and a guy that could, could play a lot of minutes in the NBA and be a good player, but I worry about him as a leveraged minutes guy in the playoffs, a guy that could actually stay in front of and guard pick and rolls. And he's, he's probably going to be a negative in terms of a shooter. So there's absolutely a role for this guy in the NBA to be an effective player. He's so long and tall and he can, he can run too. So there's a role, but but yeah, I just think there are, I think there are enough concerns around him that I think, I think taking him in the top 10 is, is too big of a risk because he plays at what is effectively the most fungible position in the NBA, which is a rim running center.

Like you can get these guys for cheaper and with lower picks or again, you know, undrafted or, or signing for minimum contracts or whatever, then you came for blowing up a lottery pick, which is, you know, one of the most important pieces, a team like the Hornets, just for example, that they have to build with right now. Interesting. Follow him on Twitter at B Geis underscore bird.

It's Brian Geisinger spending time here. Hope you're safe, my friend. Thanks for doing this. Yeah, absolutely.

Take care. There you go. That's BG. Rita stuff, ACC sports.com.

A segment that's growing in popularity is on the way. It's our NFL trading card war and it's next on the drive. The NBA draft was set to be held two days from now before everything got shut down a few months ago. Now it's been pushed to the middle of October, but the Hornets aren't going to be playing any basketball before now.

And then they have the same exact odds. The new Orleans pelicans had last year of landing the number one pick the Pels got the number one pick they had. Of course they picked Zion Williamson. And so I guess Hornets fans are left to hope and see if they could potentially get the number one pick for the first time.

If they don't, and maybe you could get into the top three at worst, you'll have the eighth pick in the draft. I think Charlotte, the two areas they need to target a scoring wing, preferably somebody who's lankier than let's say Malik monk. And you need a rim protecting big man. Charlotte hasn't had an effective rim protector since Ameka Okafor was playing for the Bobcats. Side note, I used to have an Ameka Okafor Bobcats t-shirt and I was rocking a Bobcats Jersey. I went on Jersey night and they gave you one of those cheap jerseys that said number six on the back because you know the Hornets or the Bobcats in that case known for their six man in the NBA. Okay, if you're looking at areas that they're already strong in or there's just very little chance they're going to draft with their first overall pick, I think an undersized guard, I can pretty much say now Charlotte's not going to go in that direction.

If they get the number one pick, I'd be surprised if it's Lamello ball. When you already have Devontae Graham, you have Malik monk, you have Terry Rozier, you don't need another undersized guard in the back court. And even more than that, you don't need another stretch four. Miles Bridges can play that role and there's overlap with the guy you took last year in PJ Washington.

They haven't been able to prove yet that they could be on the floor at the same time. Remember, this is a needs driven draft. It's not one where you're picking superstar athletes like were available at the top of last year's draft in Zion and Ja Morant.

So here's the dream scenario. Charlotte gets the number one pick, gets a top three pick. Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman would be the best two guys on the board. It's interesting that Brian Geisinger was with us earlier and said he's completely down on Wiseman. I'm not a big fan of his, but unlike the guy, the kid coming out of USC, Unkonkwu, Wiseman, he's a seven footer. Unkonkwu is six seven. I would prefer somebody with the athleticism of Wiseman who can alter a ton of shots, has great athleticism.

I would prefer that in that spot if you're going to go center versus a Unkonkwu. But if he falls to number eight, by all means, that would be really good for Charlotte. Anthony Edwards in my mind is the best player in this draft. I watched some Georgia basketball because Tom Crean's there. It's more fun to watch when you know you got the star coach.

The SEC, they've collected a pretty good crop of coaches. He's just so smooth. He could go up and down the floor. He could score at will. He has size.

He can shoot. Edwards, he's the closest thing you have in this draft to a complete package. So dream scenario, it's Edwards or Wiseman. Most likely scenario though, Charlotte picking eighth. Obie Toppin, who's a little old, 21 years old, having him drop to number eight out of Dayton. If he's available, Charlotte, I think would be wise to take him. Devin Vissel, I think would be the best value pick for Charlotte at that spot, assuming nobody takes him before number eight. If Charlotte's picking at the bottom of the top 10, closer towards the end of the lottery, if Vissel's there, they should run to the podium and select this guy out of Florida State.

This was BG earlier talking about Vissel. I think Devin Vissel is about as good as it gets in this draft. He's the best team defender.

He's the best 3D prospect. Sort of limited as a passer and a playmaker, but not bad. And this season at Florida State, he really showed some one-on-one pick and roll and isolation pull-up shot. He's got good footwork.

He's got a really high release. I don't know if Devin Vissel is necessarily a top five prospect in every year of the draft, but right now I think he's a top five or six guy and if you could get him at eight or nine, I think that would be phenomenal. Florida State won the ACC this year. Vissel and Trent Forrest were the two best players on that team. He's 6'7", so a good four inches. He has on Malik Monk.

At eight, I think that would be a really good pick. Strong defense. And you heard all the other descriptions that BG shared right there. We're going to be joined by Steve Weisman in 10 minutes. He's been following the Zion Williamson case very closely.

We'll get the latest on that at 4.30. But Robert, I'm interested in what you make of the criticisms out there of Bill Simmons and the ringer. You have Ryan Rosillo sitting next to Bill Simmons on a podcast a few weeks ago. And without Simmons going in this direction, Rosillo, he interjected and said essentially, I want to applaud you for always thinking about hiring people with diversity, having diverse hiring tactics, which then set people off within his company because the ringer does not have one black editor, does not have one black NBA or NFL writer. And when you look at the podcast, they haven't really given any of their significant podcasts to anybody of color.

So Simmons, he's defending himself. And the interview came off as very tone deaf with the New York Times. He said that in response to him and his spotlight of certain podcasts, not featuring people of color, quote, it's a business. This isn't open mic night is what he said.

Let me remind some people who might not know or remind people that might know, but others who might just not. Bill Simmons has podcasts with people who only qualification of being on the podcast is they're friends with Bill Simmons and haven't covered teams. Oh, they're just a fan of sports. Like they have this guy who just talks about eating and he gets his own food podcast. He gave a podcast to his daughter, his younger daughter, who's a teenager. Sounds a lot like open mic night.

It does sound a lot like open mic night. So the ringer is offended at this, the union that is. And they should be. I happen to like Bill Simmons. Here's the thing. Just because somebody has a misstep on issues of race doesn't mean they're a racist, right? Bill Simmons here, Bill Simmons here, it's not racist to overlook, hey, I've hired people of color. I just don't have them in management positions. This is a discussion we have all the time in the NFL, right? Like we ask ourselves, why does the Rooney rule not work? Why aren't there a lot of minority coaches or GMs in that sport? And the reality is pretty simple. You tend to hire who you like and you tend to hire people who are like you, because when you look at friend groups, odds are most of your friends look like you from a racial perspective. So owners, general managers, they're more likely to hire coaches that look like them. And it trickles down to management as well. It's a big reason why, and this is something I'm really self-conscious about, Robert.

Am I perfect? Could we do more? Absolutely, we could. But this radio show, it was produced by a man of color for a year. I mean, you and I, we, I mean, Aaron Gabriel is one of our closest friends. He used to be intern Aaron and then he was one of the central pieces of this radio show. When we go to locations, people are asking, hey, where's Aaron? BDOT. How many reoccurring guests do we have come in for an hour?

One. And it's BDOT. And the reason why is because I understand that my perspective is limited, that I can have blind spots on things. So having people of color, it keeps you honest in times where perspective is needed in times like this.

And I think you're learning radio stations, outlets like the ringer. It is social movements like this centered on race that expose inequities, that expose areas that, you know, aren't as diverse as they should be. Can we be better? Absolutely. But go and look at the lineups that we have on our shows.

Today's probably not a great example of that. But in general, we try to have a lot of women on who cover sports. We try to have a lot of people of color on who cover sports because their perspective is unique or it's different than what I can bring.

It's a lot different. And I welcome that because I really, truly want this radio show to be a radio show for everybody. I don't think you can possibly attain that because, OK, well, there's not a lot of people that are interested in ACC basketball or the Carolina Panthers or whatever. So you're going to isolate people in what you talk about.

But try to reach as many people as you possibly can in the triad. That's the goal. And I'm interested to see what the next step is for a guy like Simmons, who seems to acknowledge that there is a problem and try to rectify that. And I think that could be a good thing. I feel like the biggest part of him recognizing that is understanding that his statement about this isn't open mic night is the most harmful part of all of it. By saying there's no talent that he could hire, it inherently is kind of racist.

Oh, sure. But I think context is important. And I mean, if you read the story, I don't think it's not downplaying that there aren't people to hire.

But that's how it comes off. I think it's more spotlighting the talent he already has. That's what the question was.

Why don't you spotlight people you already have? Well, we already have people who have experience doing podcasts and it's not open mic night. The context of which he was asked, I will defend Bill a little bit. However, I agree that it was incredibly tone deaf.

It was. It was a tone deaf interview that he gave with the New York Times. So is the Zion lawsuit about to be thrown out?

Steve Wiseman of The Observer joins to discuss next. The more and more I learn about the Zion Williamson lawsuit, the more and more I think they should throw this thing out completely. And that's what it seems like Zion's attorneys are angling to try and do. Just to go through the list of things that the ex agent Gina Ford has against her shady background. She reached out, it seems prematurely to Zion to sign him and his family up when she wasn't registered in North Carolina.

That was in violation of this uniform act in the state of North Carolina that voided the contract. She also acknowledged in the past Zion was a high quality student athlete. She partnered with many sued, who was the advisor for Christian Dawkins in the FBI investigation into college basketball.

Sued ended up getting arrested. Her agency isn't certified by the NBA PA. Then on top of that, her lawyers seem to be just as incompetent as they subpoenaed, I'm not kidding, a dentist in Indiana, in South Bend when they meant to send that to somebody in the Indianapolis NCAA office. And apparently Zion's lawyers are alleging much of the arguments they're using as evidence. They've been quoting from Wikipedia and Zillow. Steve Weisman now with us from the Raleigh News and Observer longtime Duke beat writer. In your mind, how close is this case to being thrown out you think?

Yeah, I think we're getting pretty near there. I mean, that's what they're waiting on the court in Greensboro, the federal court to decide on now is on this motion to dismiss it based on the fact that he was a student athlete. She wasn't registered in North Carolina. That should be the end of it in their point of view. So Gina Ford, of course, wants to ask all these questions of Zion and his family under oath, Coach K, everybody. We don't know 100% that everything she's alleging is untrue, right? There's no way we don't know that.

But they have it pinned themselves in a very good picture. Gina and her and her attorneys of being reputable with with some of the things they've done here and along the way. And you just mentioned a few of them. What do you think is going to hurt their case? What do you think the biggest red flag is? Well, I mean, I think all agents, you know, try to get around the rules of states, right? So that says that's a red flag.

But it's not the biggest one, because let's face it, there's always runners and people like that, that gets these people early. I think that's kind of the way that business goes. But I mean, the thing that we went through the property records of the people that own the house that the Williamson's rented in Durham had the same name as somebody who graduated from Duke, but it's two different people. And it didn't take very long.

It was a little bit of work going through the house was in Chatham County, not Durham County, and the guy that owns it now lives in Wake County. So there was a little bit of digging to do. But, but that I mean, alumni database, you could pretty much within a couple hours, figure it out that this wasn't the same guy. And part of her case was, this house was rented by a Duke graduate to the family of a Duke recruit. So it must be shady. And I mean, just on the surface, that's, that's not true. Again, maybe there's something shady that happened, but that that they alleged in the court document wasn't true.

And so that just showed some sloppiness right there, just some surface, almost to the level of message board type stuff, right? That's kind of stuff you see on a message board, not in a court of law. Steve Weisman with us here, Duke beat Ryder for the Rowan News & Observer.

So let's be fair to the other side. What's the best evidence out there that Zion broke NCAA rules? Because he's been he's been, Duke investigated this, the NCAA investigated this, Michael Avenatti, he alleged some things regarding Zion. He's now in prison now.

Nothing came of that. So what is you think the best evidence they're looking at here? Steve Yeah, I mean, they're just trying to say that, you know, that he lived in this house in in Durham, that was a, you know, expensive house. I mean, on the market, it's it's almost, you know, three quarters of a million dollars or whatever house. And they were renting it for a year. So the house had been on the market for rent before they got it for a few months. And anyway, so just the appearance is, oh, they moved into a really expensive house, and they must have been getting money to pay for it, or Duke must have provided or something like that.

So I mean, I guess that you're asking best, I guess that's it. You know, the fact that the Kansas in the Adidas trial, you know, there was some testimony that was brought up that was on the on the wiretaps that the Kansas coaches are saying, Oh, we need to, we need to do this for Zion families is what they want, that kind of thing. Follow up, even though that that testimony wasn't allowed in court, it was thrown out, it was a wiretap that was not allowed in, in that trial. So but I mean, it's out there. So those are like little, little embers of things, right?

Little embers of maybe a fire could emerge from that. But it's really, you know, not hard evidence, not the hardest evidence you want. Steve's on Twitter at Steve Wiseman, NC. Read his stuff, newsobserver.com, and in the pages of The Observer.

I'm interested in what you make. Months after Kevin White was pretty clear as the chair for the NCAA tournament, and we saw the week of the ACC tournament when things got upended, he was the one saying they weren't going to play. Duke wasn't going to go, Duke wasn't going to play.

What are you learning about their preparations for a football season this year? Kevin White, he was the one that was, I think, the central name that said that there wasn't, Duke wasn't going to travel for the NCAA tournament, they weren't going to go to this ACC tournament game in Greensboro. Where do you think White and Duke stand on the likelihood of a football season this fall? Yeah, it all comes from even above Kevin White, the president of the school, Vince Price, kind of took the bull by the horns that morning when they canceled the basketball tournament.

It was like, well, they can have it, but we ain't coming, you know, that kind of thing. So he's been very involved in this from the university side, and that's still the case. You know, a lot of schools in the ACC have come out with plans for people to come back, some already have students back. Duke has been conspicuously quiet with it. They haven't come out with a plan. They don't have athletes back on campus.

I know the football coaches just were back in their offices on Monday at the football center and, you know, with a lot of social distancing and all that kind of stuff in place. So they're a long ways away from having, you know, getting ready for the season. And so that's something to keep an eye on that, you know, they may not have this season.

They may not get involved. I mean, they're waiting to see how this all plays out. They're letting other people be guinea pigs almost, and we're seeing around the country a lot of positive cases from athletes, a lot of schools.

Every day it seems like we hear about another outbreak. We heard there's one at Clemson recently, right? Yeah. And they're kind of like, you guys be the canaries of the coal mine a little bit and we'll kind of sit back here and see what happens. Well, it's going to be interesting over the next few weeks to see how it plays out. Steve, keep up the great work on all things Duke and also what's happening with Zion. Your time's appreciated, my friend. Okay, Josh, glad to be with you. There you go.

That's Steve Wiseman on Twitter at Steve Wiseman NC. Maybe I'm biased because people have alleged on this show that I'm a Duke Homer, which is an interesting thing. Then I even clarified, I think someone called in and said that if you could, you would bear Zion Williamson's children.

And to that, I said, yes, where do I sign up? I think having covered Zion, which was the most fascinating thing I've ever covered in my career. This guy, I mean, just electric, amazing college basketball talent from the Carolinas, great personality, vibrant person, compelling.

Maybe I'm biased because of how fun it was to watch and how fun it was to cover. But the facts are this, no evidence has surfaced from an NCAA investigation, an investigation from Duke. Steve's reporting, which again, the Zillow story, oh, Zion's family rented a house that's worth three quarters of a million dollars. Oh, this guy, it's owned by a Duke booster or something. Well, that guy doesn't apparently live there anymore, as Steve has spelled out there. I'm going to give Zion the benefit of the doubt because he's earned that, I think.

That's how we would like to be treated in a similar spot. If you're looked at multiple times and people are alleging things and you can't find anything, nothing that is hard evidence, I'm going to side with that person. And I think this case should be thrown out because it's been clear since the beginning, they're trying to publicly pressure Zion and Duke to get a settlement. Even if he took gifts, it wouldn't matter. It really wouldn't. Maybe for his perception, sure, but Zion would still be protected under this Uniform Act law in North Carolina, which means this contract he has with Gina Fort, it's null and void. So she's not going to win on a ruling. The only way she was going to win is if Zion caved and settled. And clearly Zion and his layers feel like they don't have to. Coming up, why a 60 game regular season for baseball will not age well for baseball. This is a Tuesday Drive.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-16 01:35:57 / 2023-05-16 01:53:18 / 17

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